Anderson: Nobody looks good in ridiculous video tribute drama

Ty Anderson
January 17, 2018 - 3:06 pm

David Butler II/USA Today Sports

The silliest drama of the basketball season is actually not the Rockets trying a Muppets-like scheme to break into the Clippers locker room.

It's actually a truly odd story centered around ex-Celtic Isaiah Thomas wanting some recognition from the Boston crowd by way of a video tribute, and Paul Pierce, who will see his No. 34 retired when Celtics play host to the Cavaliers on Feb. 11, refusing to share what he considers to be 'his day' with somebody that was here for just two and a half seasons

The ending to this was beyond predictable. So, sorry, Thomas, but you’re not getting a video tribute this season.

There’s just too much going on, and it’s kinda your own fault; You had a chance for one but decided that you needed your family there for it, and that you needed to be playing for it to matter. Weird. While family is a huge part of this, I have absolutely zero doubt that you want the people to cheer you the same night you drop 35 points on their favorite team. It’s OK. We know how you roll, and we respect the hell out of the hustle -- er, slow grind.

Also: You getting a video the same day Paul Pierce's number is retired was going to send him into a meltdown that will require three phones, and we’re just not ready for that.

So, here’s the deal: You’re going to get a video tribute during the 2018-19 season, when you’re signed to the new, Brink’s truck deal you’ve earned (thanks in part to the opportunity that the Celtics gave you). And don’t worry, you’re gonna get paid no matter what happens in Cleveland this season. This is an NBA that paid your old teammate Evan Turner $70 million, and made Harrison Barnes $95 million richer. Even if you’re not 100 percent and your hip never fully recovers or puts you back to your MVP-level numbers, just remember that the Knicks pay Joakim Noah $72 million to wear a suit.

A bonus: Most of the fans who turned their back on you will no longer care about The Book of Isaiah II and its seemingly anti-Celtics propaganda, your thirst for revenge, and/or any other even slightly controversial soundbite. We’ll be too preoccupied with the Patriots being 5-1 but not looking like a team that’s 5-1 (what insufferable nightmares we’ve all become) to even remember what you said about Danny Ainge or ‘destroying’ what you helped build in Boston. So instead of some boos, enough time will have passed that we’ll all remember you as the wrist-pointing, toothless wonder that wore your heart on your sleeve and stood twice the size of your 5-foot-9 frame, and you’ll get an ovation that may be twice what it would have been if it was crammed into the utter chaos that will be Pierce Day.

Solving this took about three minutes of critical thinking.

While I wish I could take the credit for such a brilliant breakthrough that will surely change the way PR departments and gameday crews run their operations, it certainly speaks more to just how stupid this entire video tribute saga has become.

It’s -- amazingly -- hit the point where nobody looks good. Or even, y’know, like an adult.

Thomas’ desire to dictate the day he’s celebrated has always been bizarre, especially for an active player currently on your chief rival, and it’s needlessly extended this entire saga that quite simply needs to end with a collective ‘move on’ from everybody.

And while Pierce is easily the best Celtic of this era, which nobody can take away from him, his complaints about this situation have him looking like the jersey-swinging, Game 6-ejected Pierce from the 2005 NBA Playoffs. His latest unnecessary and largely unprovoked attack on Thomas’ tribute request, along with the consistent and outright refusal to share even a sliver of Feb. 11’s festivities -- Pierce wants a day like the one the Lakers gave Kobe Bryant for his retirement -- comes across as petty.

That’s not the Pierce that the C’s would fall over themselves to celebrate. In fact, that version of Pierce, who won absolutely nothing and took the C’s anywhere but the Finals, is a lot closer to Thomas than he’d ever admit. Nor does that Pierce resemble anything close to the ‘Ubuntu’ philosophy that helped solidified his spot in the rafters.

He also realizes that there’s a pretty important game that day, right? Like, this isn’t just Come To The Garden and Watch Old Pierce Highlights Day (you can do that on YouTube every day of the week). Attention will be placed elsewhere, especially when you’re talking about Thomas’ first game against the C’s, whether he likes it or not.

In his attempts to keep the day about his own accomplishments, Pierce has successfully made sure that every extra camera will be hunting for I.T. reactions.

These are all real points, but the biggest point of all is that video tributes do not matter.

Nobody has ever looked at a key piece of a franchise and said, “Man, he was good, but that video package is my favorite moment of their career.” Nobody has ever said this, nor will they ever. And no fan will leave a video tribute with a new favorite moment of that player's career. That would go against who we are as completely irrational and emotionally-driven consumers that can tell you where we were and what we were doing when so-and-so did this or set that record. These videos only really matter for the 45 seconds they’re aired -- and they really only matter to the fans suckered into buying a $250 ticket to a regular season game -- and then it’s all over.

Much like this drama should have been over within two minutes of its nonsensical start. 

Comments ()